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September 2017

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A Primer In The Roots of Your Alt-Lifestyle

I’m starting to realize that many young people who lead alternative lifestyles either in the bhakti community, greater new age community or festival community don’t, in fact, know the history of the counter-culture – the movement that allowed them to lead these lifestyles in the first place.

“To understand the 60’s, you must understand the 50’s” – TL

Holistically this is the first move in getting the facts straight so you can get your point of view solid. Post World War II America was a manifestation of what the war was supposedly worth fighting for – an obtainable degree of utopian satisfaction that was available to any hard working man willing to go to work and provide for his nuclear family. The antithesis to that was the communist doctrine that allowed for no freedoms or modicum of success that was measured against the individuals merits or work ethic.

1950’s America had just enough elastic to make it seem like we were free when in reality we were oppressed, racist, chauvinist and extremely nationalistic. Even through all of that, the average working (white) man could work a middle class job and buy a nice house, have two kids and a nice Buick in the driveway all while making a modest salary. Things were bright and cheery.

The lens of oppression during that time was such that any counter culture currents were forced to go deep underground. There was no space for permissive attitudes that allowed for the puritanical bourgeois values to be challenged let alone the soil to be fertile enough to actually live an alternative life style. If you were gay, you hid it. If you were a having a romance with another race, you hid it. If you did any sort of drug, you hid it. If you subscribed to any God that wasn’t the Christian God, you hid it.

Pop-culture started to chisel away at this through the proliferation of films that gave light to other ways of life, even if it wasn’t pretty. “The Man with the Golden Arm” and “Touch of Evil” come to mind. But it wasn’t until rock and roll came blasting in that the shattering of the hearts and minds of every parent in America did any mainstream adaptation begin to take place.

Elvis Presley shook his hips into every household in America that had the tangental effect of making it ok for young women to express their sexuality and for young men to wear a leather jacket and question authority. This is why parents hated rock music back then, it wasn’t because it was noisy. It was because it challenged the societal norms.

And then a young man from Chicago, named Hugh Hefner, published a magazine in 1953 called “Playboy” which barely showed boobs but more than that gave way to this lifestyle that everyone wanted to lead but didn’t admit. With it’s now barley rated PG early editions it was enough to shake the foundation of puritanical America.

Even so, it wasn’t enough. The deeply rooted racist Jim Crow ethos of the deep south spilled over into the rest of the country. Our African-American brothers and sisters still had crappy lives and we weren’t further along that one would have hoped. Even for a white male, at the end of the day, if you didn’t graduate high school and go to college to become a cog in the wheel of corporate America, you were deemed a failure.

There have been countless books to pick apart the 1960s and how it all worked and why it all mattered. The purpose of this blog post is to act as a primer for that and why that revolution must serve as a reminder of why you lead the life you lead.

Many ingredients went into the proverbial blender of 60’s urban life that when mixed together just enough created something new that we conveniently now just call “The Sixties.” Make no mistake – it was RADICAL.

The ingredients were as follows:

  • Rock and roll: with The Beatles firing the most important first shot, Bob Dylan firing the second
  • The Vietnam war and it’s subsequent protest
  • Psychedelics – tuning in and turning on was a vital vitamin
  • The civil rights movement – finally enough were courageous enough to say enough is enough
  • Women’s rights – a big swell of bad ass women who pushed their way out of the 1950’s kitchen and into the workplace
  • The spiritual revolution – (see American Veda for this) The Beatles meeting the Maharishi, Alpert becoming Ram Dass and Satichananda at Woodstock made it ok to meditate and say “Namaste” instead of going to church on Sunday. You can’t imagine how radical this was.
  • The sexual revolution – since the dawn of time youth culture loved to have sex and were having sex, the 60s made it ok for each gender to come out and actually say they loved it and wanted more of it. This is a good thing.

Lots of other sub-culture movements too which were equally important; gay rights, ecology, diet, etc…

What is essential to understand is that each one of these ingredients that went into the blender were essential, vital even, in disrupting the cultural norms of the 50s. If you leave any one of them out, it’s like leaving salt out of the cookie dough, it simply won’t work. It is naive to think that 50 years later you can go back and pick and choose which ones were cool and which ones were bogus. That’s re-writing history.

The intellectual paradox within all of this is that many of these ideologies ended up serving to contradict the very intent of another.

For instance, while the sexual revolution was a very necessary and groovy way for us to get in touch with our bodies. Along side that it also gave rise to the objectification of women and the subsequent women’s rights movement which made it ok to protest that. See what I mean? Even though each movement was born from the same seed, they could slowly became opposites that were intent on opposing each other. The right hand slapped the left hand. It’s a very far out and head scratching phenomena.

Another example is Eastern Spirituality and psychedelics – psychedelics made Eastern Spirituality possible but then people started meditating and chanting all day and then started putting down psychedelics. Strange.

The important part of all this is that I find it essential to be historically accurate when critiquing our current culture. It’s short sighted and convenient to put down one of the ingredients that you think is “bad” or “offensive” when not so long ago it was essential in getting you to this place at all. Stepping back and finding the middle path and a modicum of balance and non-judgement is the work here.

Did Playboy give rise to the objectification of women and impossible set of beauty standards – perhaps. More importantly, it’s worth remembering what else Playboy and that the sexual revolution was about. It was a political revolution more than a social one at the onset. Hef and Playboy were first amendment crusaders that featured within it’s pages Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, Eldridge Cleaver, Fidel Castro, Gore Vidal, Helen Gurley Brown, Malcom X, Jesse Jackson, Marshall McLuhan, Nehru and Grace Kelly to name a few. This not a list to be brushed aside so lightly. These were heavyweights on the grandest scale and the interviews in the magazine aren’t trite tales of evenings at the Mansion.

Again, this isn’t about Hef or Playboy or drugs or mediation. However, over the course of the last few day I have been rather startled that so many young people are quick to burn someone in effigy when it’s a historical context they are lacking. I’ve been rude and curt on Facebook, no doubt, but it’s alarmingly frustrating how judgmental we’ve all become.

The point being that you going to Burning Man, doing a yoga pose half naked on the beach, changing your name to Ramana or refusing to work in an office was made possible by the aforementioned combination of events and ideas. You can’t dismiss one of them because it makes you uncomfortable all these years later. Our family is complex, nuanced and dysfunctional but it’s also family. We’re all part of the same tribe.

Stay woke and in love.


It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 103 – Dr. Neal Goldsmith

Dr. Neal Goldsmith beams into the kitchen table via the wonders of cyberspace to discuss his exhaustively evolved perspective on the psychedelic experience. Neal’s background as a psychotherapist provides a unique perspective into the individuals relationship with the psychedelic journey and how it can alter your life in a constructive and healthy way. Our conversation surfed the many angles of his thinking in particular a breakdown of “psychospiritual development and resistance to change.” For me, the juxtaposition of mysticism, psychology and spirituality into a uniformed discussion is one that few people can speak eloquently on – Neal is at the top of this list. Enjoy the podcast!

Intro Rant: The Importance of Hugh Hefner

Neal M. Goldsmith, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist specializing in psychospiritual development and resistance to change.  Seeing “neurosis” as the natural unfolding of human maturation, he views psychology as the science of personal emergence and spiritual maturity.  With the exception of biologically-based diseases, such as schizophrenia, psychology is not about “mental illness” and so Dr. Goldsmith treats “neurosis” as spiritual immaturity, not pathology.  In fact, he believes the “sick” label itself tightens and distorts, actually slowing healthy realignment.

Neal is also the founder of the Horizons: Perspectives on Psychedelics conference in NYC which is coming up on Oct 6-8. Click here to buy tickets 










The MAPS Podcast

MAPS Podcast – Episode 17 – Dr. Robin Carhart-Harris

Have you wondered what happens on a neuro-scientific and physiological level when phsychedelics enter your body? That question has been at the root of the psychedelic experience for generations if not centuries. Ancient mystics had the understnading that these sacred plant medicines contained tribal DNA which was necessary to keep cultures and history alive. However, now that we have more data and research available we can augment that thinking with actual stuides that illustrate how the brain is effected when these agents enter our system.

Highlighting the results of two fMRI studies and one MEG study with psilocybin and an fMRI study with MDMA, Carhart-Harris will report the effects of both drugs on regional brain activity and brain network organization. Additionally, he will report the effects of both drugs on brain and subjective responses to personal autobiographical memory cues.

Dr Robin Carhart-Harris talks about his scientific research into the effects and potential therapeutic uses of psychedelic drugs. Join him as he discusses brain imaging work involving psilocybin, the active ingredient of magic mushrooms, and explains how the drug works in the brain.


In 2005, Robin began a four year PhD in Psychopharmacology at the University of Bristol. In 2009, he successfully coordinated the first clinical study of psilocybin in the UK and the first clinical study of a classic psychedelic drug in the UK for over 40 years. Also in 2009, Robin moved to Imperial College London to continue his work under the supervision of Professor David Nutt. Robin has since coordinated the first resting state fMRI and MEG investigations of a psychedelic drug and the first fMRI study of MDMA in the UK. Robin and David Nutt recently received ethics approval for an MRC-sponsored clinical trial that will investigate the efficacy of psilocybin as a treatment for depression and an LSD fMRI and MEG study. Robin’s work is published in PNAS, Brain, Schizophrenia Bulletin and the British Journal of Psychiatry and he has appeared in television interviews for BBC news and Channel 4.


People Pop Culture

Quickly On Hef

My families association with Hef began in the 60s when TL was featured as an interview subject in the magazine. That interview still remains one of the pivotal early profiles. Not long after that Hef was vital in raising money for TL’s legal defense against “the man” for trying to shut down his ideas. This was huge.

I’m sure there will be some chatter about Playboy’s objectification of women and all the tangental issues that go along with that. Perhaps what many young people don’t realize is that Hef was a fierce champion of First Amendment rights, fringe political issues, anti-authoritarian causes and for creating a modern day dreamland that was all his own and was beyond anything recognizable in 1950s America.

“Life is too short to be living somebody else’s dream.”


In my youth my parents would regale me with stories of wild hedonistic tinged nights at the Playboy mansion. God only knows what really went on but I was treated to stories of Kareem calling my dad “doc” and the casual elegance of Jack just hanging out talking to Babs. Naturally like any young man growing up in LA during the 80’s, I couldn’t wait for it to be my turn.

That didn’t come until much much later and quite honestly by the time I arrived I felt like I was 20-30 years too late. It was cool to meet him, sure. But the “Hef” mystique is one of the few tapestries in life that make me feel I was born at the wrong time.

Shine on Hef. You were a maverick.

It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 102 – Ariane Labyrinth

Episode 102 of the It’s All Happening podcast features the divine creatrix behind PhenoVibe, Ariane Labyrinth. Ariane is a dear friend and soul sister, we recorded the episode in the quiet vibey confines of the post midnight witching hour. Yes, Ariane and her next Cosmic Cabaret event (Rites of Passage)  goes down on September 29th but our conversation had very little do with that. We surfed the sonic sugary frequencies of metaphysical practice, energy, light space and a whole host of psychedelic sacredness that’s almost impossible to talk about, but we did! This episode is not like any other that IAH has done, I hope you enjoy it.

Ariane Labyrinth – is the chief creatrix and inspiration behind PhenoVIbe. The focus of our practice is Cosmic Alchemy, a unique type of experience allowing us to directly connect to and immerse ourselves in source energy and light -the most empowering and transformative force of the universe. Her roots are in dance, metaphysical meditation and light work.

CLICK HERE for tickets to Rites of Passage on September 29th














It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 101 – Gary Baum and The Legend of Angelyne

On August 2, 2017, Gary Baum of the Hollywood Reporter published what is now a legendary piece on the real identity of LA cult icon Angelyne. It was so spell binding that nearly everyone in LA who is over a certain age participated in the chatter of what it all meant. I was so blown away that I had to track Gary down to see if he would do the podcast. Sure enough he was most gracious and sat down with me at The Hollywood Reporter office. For about an hour we discussed all the ins and outs and what-have-yous surrounding the development of the article and it’s whodunit caper qualities. Two years prior, Gary wrote another article on the enduring legend of Angelyne and began to chip away at her razor sharp fabricated image. He’s spent a lot of face time with Angelyne and has a wonderfully curious point of view on the deeper meaning behind not just her but also on the nature of reinvention, identity and life in the modern media-sphere. This is episode 101 of the It’s All Happening podcast. I hope you enjoy it.

Gary Baum is a Senior writer at The Hollywood Reporter, covering the circus.













It's All Happening Podcast

IAH – Episode 100 – Taryn Southern and Jack Kornfield

EPISODE 100 of the It’s All Happening Podcast!!! Amazing. To celebrate this milestone I brought back two return guests to the fold – Taryn Southern and Jack Kornfield. Taryn is the main guest and takes us on a wonderfully informative and inspirational journey into the emerging worlds of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence. Taryn just released a new single that has AI as her band! And of course, Jack Kornfield’s heartfelt wisdom grounds us in a dharma talk centered around making friends with our practice in these complex times. This episode truly embodies my passions of bringing technology and spirituality into one conversation.

I am beyond moved, grateful and blown away that 100 episodes has been reached. It seemed so far away! With the love and support of you guys we’ll certainly have 100 more! Thank you everyone who’s been riding along with me on the adventure these past two years. You’ve taught me more than you’ll ever know.

This episode was brought to you by Bhakti Fest! It happens on September 6-11th in Joshua Tree!

Taryn Southern – I love to make stuff online. Here’s some music stuff. Some comedy stuff. Some VR stuff. Some TV and filmstuff. I’m the founder of Happy Cat Media, which has produced 1500+ videos for brands like Marriott, MovieTickets, and Today Show, and is now focused on immersive storytelling and consulting. My hobbies include adventure travel, margaritas, and irreverent comedy.

Jack Kornfield – Jack Kornfield trained as a Buddhist monk in the monasteries of Thailand, India and Burma. He has taught meditation internationally since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness practice to the West. After graduating from Dartmouth College in Asian Studies in 1967 he joined the Peace Corps and worked on tropical medicine teams in the Mekong River valley. He met and studied as a monk under the Buddhist master Ven. Ajahn Chah, as well as the Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw of Burma. Returning to the United States, Jack co-founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, with fellow meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg and Joseph Goldstein and the Spirit Rock Center in Woodacre, California. Over the years, Jack has taught in centers and universities worldwide, led International Buddhist Teacher meetings, and worked with many of the great teachers of our time. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a father, husband and activist.